Many new authors have never talked on a podcast. There can be nervousness and anxiety, but you don’t need to worry. Readers want to hear about your book and other authors that are more nervous than you who will listen and admire how great you are on a podcast.
Most of the authors I’ve talked with on the podcast episodes have never done this before. It’s a strange new world. I want to help make the time as easy and enjoyable as possible. Below are my tips to help you have a great podcast interview – whether it’s your first or hundred and first.
1 – Relax – I can’t overstate this enough. If you’re nervous and uptight it will come across in your voice (and video). You’re probably afraid that you’ll mess up or not sound good – but if you are uptight, you definitely will not sound good and more than likely mess up what you’re saying. There are authors out there that are too nervous to even talk on the podcast, so you’re already one step ahead of them. If there is an absolute mess of a mistake – we can edit it out. There shouldn’t be anything that concerns you so much that you can’t gush about your book.
2 – Practice if need be – Even though I told you to relax, you may find yourself nervous. It happens. One of the best things to do is practice. Talk to yourself, tell yourself about your book. Practice while driving (don’t crash) or in the shower or walking the dog. How would you answer if asked about your writing habits? What are your favorite books to read? Get used to talking out loud and answering these types of questions. Hearing your own voice will help you to be comfortable with hearing yourself, but also, this exercise will build your confidence because you’ve already answered the questions.
3 – Test software and your equipment – this is important! There isn’t much that is worse than to show up, but you can’t use your equipment or it’s not working. The interview start off poorly, you get flustered and then you can’t relax. You then have a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it’s a bad interview. Check your equipment. In 2021, almost every podcast interview is sitting in front of your computer, not sitting face to face with a tape recorder. Make sure your microphone, video camera, headphones, speakers, and whatever connection software you may be using (like Zencastr or Zoom) , is all in working order. Make sure you aren’t having internet problems and shut down anything that could be conflicting. This means any unnecessary software, but also make sure others aren’t on your local network and streaming movies or something, which could cause glitches.
4 – Read over the questions if possible – ask the podcast host if they have a list of general questions they ask. Or a list of the most common questions they ask. Knowing what you may be asked will help you relax and prepare. If you write out answers, do it just for practice. Don’t use written out answers and just read it during the podcast. You will sound fake and people won’t trust you, so then they won’t buy your book. You are better off being yourself and having a few flubs than being ‘fake’ you and reading a prepared speech. See #5.
5 – Listen to several episodes of the podcast – find out how the host sounds and what types of topics they like to discuss with guests. See what other guests have been interviewed to make sure you feel comfortable with the type of audience that may be listening. Listening will help you prepare so there are less surprises, which will help you relax. When the host asks a question, pause the episode and practice answering. This goes hand in hand with #4.
6 – Watch your ums and ahs – We all do it, throw in those little “Ah” and “Um” sounds as we’re thinking of what to say. Professional speakers work on not doing that. It takes some training, but you can talk without adding “Uhhhhhh” to everything you say. You will sound better to those that are listening and save the host a lot of time editing out all of those little speech blurps. I know this and I still do it at times. 🙂
7 – Take your time when talking – Don’t rush and make yourself sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks. Answer in a steady manner, but don’t think you have to say everything in 3.2 seconds. You want to talk naturally, like talking with a friend. Forget about the microphone, just have a good chat. On the flip side, don’t ramble too long. You’ll lose the host and the audience. Like taking out extraneous writing, don’t babble so much that no one knows what topic you’re answering.
8 – Hydrate – You will be talking quite a bit, and you may still be a bit nervous. This can lead to a dry and uncomfortable throat. Rather than coughing and having to excuse yourself, drink water before you start and during if you have a moment to grab a sip. Avoid dairy and hot beverages right before the interview as they will contribute to your throat closing up.
9 – Amp up your personality – This is one I didn’t think of, but J Thorn (he of many podcasts) offers this advice. A normal, friendly conversation may not be as entertaining to a listener of a podcast. You need to be like Spinal Tap and crank it up a bit more. if it feels weird, that’s OK. You’ll sound better to the listeners. It’s like singers or actors in plays – they are told to open their mouth’s wider because it will then appear to the audience just right. This is similar – just be a bit more you! 🙂
OK, those are my tips based on interviewing other new authors. I hope they help. If there are any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to J. Thorn and the other authors at The Author Success Mastermind for their help, feedback, and tip.
If you are looking for a mastermind group or a community to join, I totally recommend The Author Success Masternind. J Thorn runs a great group and is offering more options for the next year. He and Zach also run some great worldbuilding events throughout the year. It’s worth checking out.
I’ve also been working with James L Rubart and his son, Taylor. they run a training academy that can help you work on your brand and publishing. Check out Rubart Training Academy and tell them you were on the Discovered Wordsmith podcast.